Vet Tech accreditation visit beneficial

© 2018-Lingle Guide

TORRINGTON – It isn’t enough to know the difference between a cow and a horse, or a syringe and a stethoscope, to become a veterinary technician. To obtain the knowledge necessary to work with veterinarians, graduation from a nationally accredited program, such as that at Eastern Wyoming College, is required. 

To ensure that graduates are qualified to work in vet labs, national standards must be met. This is accomplished through local visits by representatives of the American Veterinary Medical Association, from the American Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. Visits are made every
six years.

EWC hosted a four member visiting committee for two days in September. The inspection evaluates 11 standards, including finances, curriculum, library resources, and instruction facilities, as well as community involvement, said Dr. Susan Walker, Vet Tech instructor and chairman of the Veterinary
Technology division.

“It seems like a mountain of paperwork is required to prove we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” Walker said. “Vet Tech is probably one of the more difficult curriculums and the site visit is
very thorough.”

The team meets with local residents and businesses, in addition to inspecting and reviewing operations at EWC. Two focus on vet tech instruction, one focuses on the education portion of the scoring and the fourth considers activities.

In addition to the educational aspect of the program, team members check the local economy for such things as salaries and cost of living, and their impact on the college.

“What we do here, wouldn’t work in New York,” Walker said. “These are things the committee takes into consideration.

“It’s a helpful process,” she added. “They encourage us to be self reflective, and ask ourselves why we do it this way. Can it be done
differently?

“The visit is stressful, but it’s meant to be helpful.”

The recent evaluation touched on items from installing another eye wash station to clearing out a kennel that had been lost to storage for educational materials. Additional instruction space is also on the list. Suggestions range from critical, such as the eye wash station, to things that will need to be accomplished by the next visit, six years from now.

According to Walker the visits can provide ideas on different ways to do things suggested by team members who visit other programs around
the nation. 

“They had a wealth of knowledge on how other schools have different ways of doing similar things,”
she said.

The team report will be released in April 2018.

In the meantime, Walker said the staff and students are, and have been, incorporating the team’s suggestions, in continuing to prepare the 70 students enrolled in the EWC program to step into quality employment.

“Depending on which program they have focused on, EWC students can go to work in a hospital lab or as an assistant in a vet clinic,” Walker said. “Or they can decide to further their education in other
specialized fields.”

“We have two programs, a one year Veterinary Aide certificate or a two-year  AAS Veterinary degree, “ she said. “Others thirst for more knowledge, and go on to work in specialized fields.”

“We follow the team’s recommendations and always try to keep up with the changes in standards of practice,” Walker said., noting this is important in producing quality employees.

Current vet tech enrollment includes students from Jamaica, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas, Washington and California. 

“The cost of the program is a really good deal,” Walker said. “And you don’t need to leave Wyoming to work. If you don’t work with a veterinarian, there are always jobs as lab techs in hospitals. We get a lot of calls for those.

“There are so many directions you can go,” Walker said. “Government, surgery, critical care, wildlife, diagnostics, breeding farms. Four former students are working at Washington State University.

“There is a big demand for Vet Tech students,” Walker emphasized. “A lot of students have jobs before they graduate. These visits help insure the quality of instruction
they get.”


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